Volpane In Love

Decade Archive of my personal blog from 1999 to 2009.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Bruce and I will be attending brunch at Charlies this Sunday. We hope to connect with Inkshadow that day sometime and will call before we go ringing doorbells...of course, you are always welcome to join us at brunch.

In another vein, we watched Pedro Almedovar's most recent film, "Bad Education" (2004), last night.

Bruce got frustrated with the subtitles because we have a crappy telly and subsequently wanted to turn it off when we were two quarters of the way through, but on the whole it was enjoyable. I'm intrigued that it is perhaps his most overtly queer cast of characters: requisite transsexual junkie who, stand in for Almedovar as director, hustler boyfriend, straight but closeted former priest.

As usual, Almedovar packs as much as he can into his Chinese-puzzle-box-of-a-movie, from the Hitchcockian titles at the opening, to the near homages to "Cinema Paradiso" and other standards of modern European film-making, to the plot that doubles back on itself making you realize that what you assumed was flashback is really just the reinterpretation of the past the character of the director is doing with this story. Almedovar loves to blur the line between what is real and what is the fantasy of his characters and he does this with great finesse in BE. He mostly borrows story ideas and locations from his own movies and one can assume his own past. The director's home which appeared in "Matador" makes a comeback and draws comparison between the two movies. Heroin use and addiction is also an element that appears in many of his movies and features in this one as the motivation that drives the junkie to blackmail everyone, even his former childhood friend, from beyond the grave.

As another chapter of Spanish "Trash" Theater, this is a satisfying addition if not much of a diversion to previous Almedovar movies. If you want something less dramatic but more humorous, rent "Dark Habits" (1983) which was recently released on DVD with some of Almedovar's earlier films that did not have a previous American release in theaters. With DH Almedovar takes the title literally and presents you with a convent of very human nuns who take their vows of humiliation before Christ to the extreme of ridiculous names, such as Sister Dung and Sister Snake. The highjinx of his usual fare is played with a typical convent's seriousness as the lesbian Abess buys junk from prostitutes and the other nuns generally run amok taking acid and writing trashy novels about the lives of the women they take in to "save". Not his most memorable film but ironically funny while poking fun at the foibles of the Catholic Church.

Even more forgettable is his "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" (1984) which presages "Women on the Verge" (1988) by investigating many of Almedovar's themes of family discord. A housewife living in a too small apartment with her family, pimps her youngest son to pay for his dental work and then eventually murders her oaf of a husband as he realizes dreams of reuniting with a famous opera singer he'd met in Germany years before. The murder is blithely covered up with the unsuspecting help of the friendly prostitute downstairs and the telekinetic daughter of the seamstress upstairs. The mother-in-law moves out with the older son, never suspecting the housewife's nefarious deeds. On the whole, this movie is presented too lightly to flesh out the implications of the various events but as a precursor to his later film it does reveal a developing director's mind and style.

As you can see, I've been indulging in Pedro...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The white poppies are blooming! They have been for the past several weeks and I regret that it has taken me this long to post the pictures. The plants have grown nearly six feet tall and the blooms are just brilliant and stunning to behold. The purple spots bleed slightly into the white giving the blooms just a hint of purple-pinky hue.
This is a shot of the rockery garden I grew from seed and planted late May 2005. Cosmo Daisies are blooming along with Lupine, Petunias and pansies. This garden can be seen from the road as you drive into the downtown area and already has gotten a lot of positive comments. Out of the blue comes green.
A friend gave me seed for the tall poppies growing in this garden. These have grown so tall that several plants have been blown down during recent wind storms. The blooms are amazing and attract lots of different insect life.
Poppies blooming looking towards the wood pile.
Poppies blooming in corner of the house.
A close up of a poppy and a cosmos daisy. Once I was looking at the poppy blooms and noticed a bumblebee oddly hanging off one of the petals. It wasn't moving and yet seemed stuck there. On closer inspection right above the bee was a white spider with two purpley-pink spots on its abdomen, just like the poppies! It was holding its fresh kill very still, perhaps in case I might be a predator. Unfortunately I couldn't get a photo.
Pansies in bloom.
Asian Poppies in bloom. These have now died back but they were quite gorgeous in their prime. I think this composition will make a lovely painting.
The orange poppies were so prodigious that they were encroaching on this rose bush which still managed to bloom with lovely pink roses. This bush is now notable because we spread Bruce's stepmom's ashes at its feet. I've been calling them Maude's roses ever since.
This is the yellow rose I bought from Home Depot this spring. As you can see it produces a sumptuous and fragrant rose with pink tones. I'm very happy with this bare root purchase; the trick is to buy them the earliest they get them into the stores and then follow planting directions exactly.
Purple Irises blooming by the fountain.
I was so pleased to find this pink geranium blooming that I'd planted in my marigold planter. This was a cutting from a plant I'd left outside in the ground and did not survive the winter. I now know that the ones in the ground need to be taken up and potted in order to survive the very wet and cold winter.
The Asian poppies developed many strong stems, topped with these delightful seed pods with velvety purple caps. I will dry these so I can gather the seed for next year.
This is perhaps my most favorite shot of the Asian poppies. The wall of the house behind makes a nice textural background for the brilliant and luminous orange color.